Final Project 2 – RUA’s and How They Keep Us Safe Online

We may have been great fools to develop the post office, to invent the newspaper and the railway; but the harm is done – it will be our children who will see it; we have created a Frankenstein monster at whom our simplicity can only gape.” 

Henry James, late 1890s (Thank goodness Henry James never seen Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram!)

Unit 2 is closing for me, all be it a little late and I have really enjoyed working through this unit. I have got lost in the resources and have really found some excellent websites and articles that have made me think and really reflect on how I use technology personally and professionally.  I have looked at my facebook posts, created a new twitter account and sharpened the focus of each social media tool I use.  I was inspired by all the students who are taking action in the world through the uses of technology and my eyes were opened to a new wave of innovators who aren’t innovating in their world, they are just using the tools that we have given them.  They are digital citizens and it is so natural for them, born into a world where you couldn’t be anything else.  When writing my blog on Digital tattoos Abbi Sandweiss made an interesting comment,

“Hello Sylvia! I think this is my first post on your blog. I was really interested by your title and as I read on further I really began to make the connection between “digital footprint” and “digital tattoo.” Honestly, I hadn’t ever thought of it as a digital tattoo, but that really does make a better picture for me in knowing that what you post online is there for good – it’s not easy to remove. I think that this would really help my students to understand the importance of why we teach digital citizenship. Many of them have a really difficult time making the connection that when you post something online, it is there for good and can be really hard to “delete.” I really liked your idea of having a class do a unit on “Social Media Fails.” I always laugh at all of the post on the “Pinterest Fails” and would be interested to see the work that your class came up with, if you don’t mind sharing it.

I am knew to the blogging experience, but am definitely realizing that I need to keep it professional. I wonder do my coworkers do the same? How can I help them to realize the importance of digital tattoos? This will be something I continue to teach and help others (and myself) learn throughout the years. Keep sharing your great ideas – I would love to use some of them! Thank you 🙂”

This prompted me to start thinking about how we can share the idea of digital tattoos with our students and staff, and so an invitation was extended to Abbi and a series of lesson centred around an RUA were developed.  It was great working with Abbi and we both had a similar destination in mind – Google docs and the chat facility (plus FaceBook Messenger) were great tools to use in the collaborative process.  This You Tube video sums up our collaboration (thanks to Abbie for finding this!):

Understanding Digital Citizenship in schools begins with a Responsible User Agreement, setting out the expectations for the uses of technology.  I know we spend a long time working on developing RUAs, getting the wording right, finding examples from other schools, other educators and adapting it to our needs.  When we are happy with these foundation documents we merrily send them off to parents and students asking them to read over them and sign them.  They are handed back in and ‘filed’.  Job done right?  I think not…

As an IB school it is always important to make connections and recognise the importance of technology and its use in our everyday life,

“In this constantly evolving digital age, ICT is progressively becoming a ubiquitous part of a learner’s life at school and beyond: for learning, working, innovating, creating, responding, problem-solving, problem posing, socialising and playing. Students inhabit a world saturated with information, images and sound. Inevitably, students’ immersion in this world continually leads them to explore creative and innovative uses of emerging technologies beyond their basic functional applications, discovering new ways of engaging with content meaningfully, and participating fully in today’s world.” IBO, 2011

Based on this my school adopted a RUA that developed by a groups of fellow COETAIL students.  It was framed by the Learner Profile Attributes and fitted in very well with our school ethos. That coupled with the Common Sense Education units on Digital Citizenship and several Visible thinking routines We had the beginning of a series of lesson plans to explore our RUA.  The RUA needs to be made real, the students have to connect what is written in this document with their real ‘online’ life.  Therefore, after a series of lessons exploring digital citizenship the summative task will be for the students to select one or two of the points in the RUA and create a presentation for their peers, it would be great if these could been shown at assembly.  Students can use any medium, poster, video, animation or slide show.

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